15 answers

Rapid Heart Rate and Shortness of Breath??

Ok, so I know that shortness of breath is a common pregnancy symptom, but I'm seriously concerned about mine and no one seems to take me seriously. My heart is beating very rapidly ALL the time, which is causing me to be short of breath. I actually went into the ER the other day, because it was bothering me THAT much. They did tests on my heart and said everything is fine. However, my heart is still pounding constantly which is still causing me to be short on breath, and also causing dizziness and lightheadedness. Anyone else having the same problem and if so, what are you doing to help it???? I do have anxiety, but I take medication for it daily. I also have asthma.

What can I do next?

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I had that too. It was diagnosed as heart palpitations, very common in pregnancy. My heart was scanned and found completely normal. It did bother me though b/c I was exhausted from the rapid heart beat. Sometimes I would have to lie on the floor for 10 minutes just to regain my strength! Everything was fine again after the baby was born.

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This happened to me though I was farther along than you. I called my ob and she said I was prob dehydrated. She told me to sit down and drink two large glasses of water. Surprisingly this really helped.

Too often docs think that they know everything, and people are often afraid to be their own advocate. Listen to your body--something IS off, and keep researching and pursuing this until you find a doctor that will listen to you. Your health and the baby's health are possibly at risk--but you won't know until you find someone who will listen. Don't give up!


I had something similar while pregnant, for me it was anxiety attacks. Are you more stressed then normal? Once in a blue moon I would get an anxiety attack before I was pregnant, I got them a lot more while pregnant (working two jobs, trying to get ready for the baby), but after my pregnancy I rarely get them. The more you worry about the fast heart rate and shortness of breath the worse it gets. Take deep breaths, relax and continue this till you feel calm and gain back regular breathing. Mention this when/if you talk to a doctor, they would be able to give you some tips, I do not remember them all.


Another source says that is has to with having more blood since you are growing a little one inside of you. Plus you are using more energy to grow that little one so an activity you do could leave you without breath or winded.


Here is something someone else posted a few years ago, so take it with a grain of salt: I had that when I was pregnant with my first son, and even worse with my second. Nobody could help me though. Four years later I found out that I have PCOS which is cysts in my ovaries, and it comes along with many other horrible symptoms. I also have insulin resistance. With this it happens mostly right after a meal. I have a rapid heart beat, I feel weak, and I am totally fatigued for a good hour. This happened while I was pregnant, and now after. I gained way to much weight with my kids, and had them 14 months apart so the pregnancy was very close together. I had severe pain under my breasts where it would burn, and that is also a symptom, you get a hot spot, and the skin gets dry, and there is skin discoloration. I often complained that my pelvic bone was killing me, and it hurt so badly the whole 9 months. They did tests, but were just positive that it was nothing.

When you visit the doc/OBGYN next just ask about the above, and they will be able to sort through the finer details.

I had that when I was pregnant, too. Have them test you for Anemia. Do you crave ice, by chance? I was eating at least 30 20 oz. cups of ice a day! That is what triggered my Dr. to test me. Super super anemic. Had to take iron pills for the rest of my pregnancy and eat lots of things with iron in them. I bet it's anemia. Call your Dr. and ask them if they think that could be the cause...
Best of luck and congrats on your baby!

I had that too. It was diagnosed as heart palpitations, very common in pregnancy. My heart was scanned and found completely normal. It did bother me though b/c I was exhausted from the rapid heart beat. Sometimes I would have to lie on the floor for 10 minutes just to regain my strength! Everything was fine again after the baby was born.

Have you ever had your thyroid checked? This sounds exactly like what was happening to me when I was diagnosed with hyperthyroid and Grave's Disease. I felt like I was always trying to catch my breath and feeling lightheaded or fatigued from just trying to breath. I was diagnosed a couple years before I was pregnant, but pregnancy can throw it out of whack because mine had to be monitored constantly. I just had my daughter 6 months ago and my doctors are still trying to get my synthroid dosage correct to get my levels back to normal.

Your thyroid affects everything in your body. It helps regulate your body temperature so if it is off it can fluctuate from one extreme to the other. It can affect your eyes and moods, etc. Your OB doctor, internist or an endocrinologist can check it for you. It is a simple blood test to check your tsh levels.

Hope this helps,

I want to say I have heard of this before, but that is not helpful. Follow up with your OB and see what they say. Write down when it is happening, the duration and if anything seems to be trigger it. Also, note if anything makes it better or worse. Get this information and then call.

This happened to me two different times with two different causes. The first was an undiscovered thyroid deficientcy which went away once my thyroid levels were stabilized with medication. The second time was due to a medication that is used for anxiety and depression, but for me I took it in a much smaller dose for fibromyalgia. I took it for years without a problem and one day it hit me. My heart rate skyrocketed as a reaction to the medication so I had to go off of it. You might want to check the side effects of your meds and have your thyroid checked. Don't let the drs tell you you're fine and just live with it. I lived with racing heartbeat and palpitations for over a year before someone finally discovered the thyroid thing.

N. -

I am far from an expert but what it sounds like to me is anxiety issues. It sounds like an anxiety attack. That is what it is like for me when I have one. with all of the hormonal and physical changes your body is going through it can be just enough to throw you over the edge. What I would suggest is to take a warm bath with some light music (okay that is what works for me) or watch a movie. I would also keep an eye on your blood pressure, that could also be causing that. Another thing you can do, if you haven't already is to talk to your OB/Midwife/Dr about it and see what they say. Congratulations and I am sure things will be just fine.

I had this when I was PG: pounding heart, SOB, turned out I was anemic. Good luck to you.

When I was pregnant my heart felt like it was about to jump out of my chest sometimes even when I was just sitting and watching tv. I went in to the urgent care and they did an EKG. The dr said I was probablly dehydrated. I eventually saw my regular doc and she said it was normal especially since I am on the smaller side. She said it was because my body was pumping more blood and since I was smaller I could feel it more. Funny, but a friend of mine had the same thing.

I also had a miscarriage and after losing some blood had a similar thing. That time I took some iron pills.

Have you ever had your thyroid level checked? It's a simple blood test. When my level is too high, I am jittery, dizzy, light-headed, and my heart is pounding. My thyroid "quit" after my second pregnancy, but my level was back up to normal with medication. Thyroids can "quit" for several reasons, but also can produce too much sometimes thus producing the above symptoms. Hope this helps! K.

Hello N. B.

My name is S., and I am currently 32 weeks today with my second child. I have a 6 yr old also who started 1st grade this fall. I have also been struggling with rapid heart rate with this pregnancy. I have been to the doc several times regarding this issue, and it seems like they all say " well that's normal". I am tired of hearing that's normal! I have yet to find a OB doc to look into the matter, or even try to put me on bed rest. I still work fulltime and the dizziness when I stand has been a constant issue and unbearable. I have been told by the docs to take Tylenol for my aches and pains, and that it should also be taken if I am experiencing lightheadedness. Well I am not to keen on taking medicine while pregnant, but several times I had to result to popping the pills because it is that bad! Now I know you were looking for suggestions, but I have none. I just would like ppl reading this to know that this is a serious issue and docs keep putting this aside as minor or "normal". I have also had a fetal stress test done and everything seemed fine. But what about my symptoms, I can not be productive at work if I constantly having a rapid heart rate, which feels like im going under cardiac arrest?! With your asthma and anxiety issues I would think they would do a little more about. I have none of the issues (that I know of). When I first felt the rapid heart rate my husband told me it sounds like you having an anxiety attack. I want to know how to cope with this issue as well, so any other moms have this issue please let me know too.

Thanks in Advance S.

I have heart issues, and one of them is mitro valve prolapse...something not too rare in young, lean women. I was diagnosed years before my first pregnancy and the doctor wasn't surprised that it acted up more when I was pregnant. Perhaps it's anxiety, but perhaps it's an undiagnosed prolapse issue. I'd see a cardiologist if you continue to have issues.

Mitro valve prolapse is not life-threatening, but can be an issue, particularly when pregnant as tachycardia (high heart rate) can affect your baby's development...especially in terms of gaining weight.

Let me know if you have any questions! Best of luck!

Insist on a ekg that you are hooked up too for 24 hours and can wear it at home. I have an accelrated heartbeat in my lower left chamber and none of the doctors would act like it was anything to worry about by listening to my heart. Finally one doctor did and found that I would have these little accelarated heartbeats once in a while, worsened by stress and really acts up around 2nd hand smoke or too much caffine. It isn't normal if you are having problems breathing because of it. They probably aren't taking you seriously if you are prone to anxiety attacks, thinking it is just that. If nothing else see a heart doctor.

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